Patty Loveless

October 16, 2009

As a youngster in Kentucky, Patty Loveless listened to the Grand Ole Opry, and she wrote songs and sang with various ones of her six siblings. After high school, she headed for nashville and became a member of the Wilburn Brothers band. She released her first solo recording in 1987 and now has dozens of albums to her credit. These days, Patty and her husband, producer Emery Gordy Jr., make their home in Georgia — in a small town northwest of Atlanta. Her 2008 CD Sleepless Nights: The Traditional Country Soul of Patty Loveless received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album. Her latest recording, Mountain Soul II, was released in late September on Saguaro Road Records. Patty was gracious enough to answer a few questions after her October 3rd performance.

How do you choose songs for each of your albums? What is your process and what are you looking for in a song?

We may receive as many as 200 to 400 songs, and my producer culls the obvious. At that point we're probably down to 40 or 50 songs. We listen and grade on a scale of 1 to 10, and that might bring the number down to 20 or 30. At that point we add more songs. This process goes on and on, and after awhile we're down to around 20. Then the fun begins.

I look for songs that touch me; songs that I can relate to. They might be fun or they might be dead serious, but either way they are songs that can/will evoke emotions.

On A Prairie Home Companion, you performed Busted, Prisoner's Tears and A Handful of Dust. How did you discover these songs and is there any story or special meaning to any of them?

On my latest album, Mountain Soul II, I performed the original lyrics of "Busted." Harlan Howard had written the song in the early 60's and it was about coal-miners. He changed the lyrics to cotton-farming to accommodate a request from an artist whose background didn't involve coal-mining. Harlan gave a copy of the original lyrics (about a coal-miners family) to my husband/producer, Emory Gordy Jr many years ago, and when it came time to do this album, Emory pulled out these old lyrics.

"Prisoner's Tears" was originally done by Jon Randall, but the record was shelved, and the song never saw light. At first I had trouble with the idea of a woman in prison, but the lyrics are even more potent from a female standpoint.

"A Handful of Dust" was on my second Epic album (When Fallen Angels Fly), and I felt that it hadn't received the attention it deserved. It's a wonderful lyric from the pen of the brilliant Tony Arata.

These 3 songs are from Mountain Soul II — Could you tell us a little about the new CD?

Just like the first Mountain Soul, we recorded it "live" (except for 3 overdubs) in 4 days. All musicians and vocalists performed "real-time." And some vocalists also played and sang at the same time. "Live."...what a concept! Although the title of the album is Mountain Soul II, it's really not a recreation of the original Mountain Soul. It's a continuation, an extension, an update.

How is Saguaro Road Records? How is recording for Saguaro different than your previous label Epic/Sony?

The guys at Saguaro Road Records are great. They give me the freedom to do what I feel will connect with my fans. They are very patient, and very supportive. And it's a real relief that I don't have to worry about what commercial radio will think. I only have to worry about the minds, souls, and hearts of real people.

Garrison got the idea for A Prairie Home Companion by writing an article about the Grand Old Opry... since you are an opry member and have appeared on both, how are the shows similar or different?

If Garrison was thinking in terms of pure pandemonium, then he got it right! None of the participants, including the audience, knows what the hell is going to happen next. That's great! Garrison goes the Opry one better by inserting "old-time radio" drama with "old-time radio" commercials.

How can fans find out where you will be appearing along or keep up with your touring schedule?

You can get my tour info from and also from

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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